Sun Microsystems has released a new version of its Java Enterprise System (Java ES), which aims to make the subscription-based enterprise middleware offering more modular.
Java ES 5.0 is the first major release of the bundle since October 2005. It brings Sun's infrastructure software, support and training together into a single product and is aimed at companies looking to purchase the vendor's middleware at a gradual, predictable rate.
Java ES is also available in the form of individual software suites known collectively as Java System Suites.
Java ES users include credit reporting company Equifax, General Motors, health-care insurance company Blue Cross Australian telecom carrier Telstra.
"Java ES 5.0 continues a lot of what we started four years ago," said Jim McHugh, vice president of software infrastructure at Sun. In 2003, the vendor introduced Project Orion, which became Java ES, as a way for customers to buy an integrated middleware stack made available on a regular quarterly release cycle.
Users can begin by buying the Java ES 5.0 Base for US$100 (£50) per employee per year, which includes Sun's application, portal and Web servers, and then choose to add on subscriptions for Sun's Java System Identity Manager or its Java Composite Application Platform Suite (Java CAPS). Adding in identity management brings the annual cost per user to US$140, which then increases to $200 when Java CAPS is also included.
Sun sees its prime middleware competitor as IBM with its WebSphere offering. "They have the same breadth of software we offer, but we did our [product] integration three years ago," McHugh said. As Oracle continues integrating its Fusion middleware, it will also be more of a significant Sun rival, he added.
Major enhancements in Java ES 5.0 include work on a monitoring console and monitoring framework and a common installer for the software components, McHugh said. The vendor is also keen to incorporate more of its own and third-party open-source components in its middleware. Java ES already includes Java DB, Sun's supported distribution of the open-source Apache Derby database. The middleware also supports the PostgreSQL open-source database.
Sun now lays claim to more than 1.3 million subscribers for Java ES compared to the nearly 1 million it declared in October 2005.